What are remote committee meetings?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, formal Council meetings, such as Planning Committee, Licensing Panels and Cabinet, are being held remotely. 

Remote committee meetings are meetings that are held using audio and visual technology to allow councillors to meet formally while they are in different locations.  In ordinary circumstances, councillors have to meet in person but the Government has passed legislation to temporarily allow remote meetings.

Camden is conducting remote meetings using Microsoft Teams (‘Teams’), using both the audio and video functionality so that all participants in a remote meeting should be capable of being heard and seen. 

Participants are defined as:

  • members of the committee; 
  • other councillors who seek to address the committee; 
  • officers advising the committee or presenting reports; 
  • any external partners/third-parties invited to address or advise the Committee; and deputees (including any member of the public with speaking rights).

Addressing and watching remote committee meetings

Unless a meeting is dealing with confidential items, it will be streamed to the public so that they may listen and watch, should video be available. The link to watch the meeting remotely will be set out on the front of every agenda, which can be found via our democracy pages.

Meetings are held in public, but members of the public will not be able to participate unless they are registered in advance as a deputee. Deputees will be issued with details on how to join the remote meeting to address the meeting. More information on making a deputation is available on our deputations pages.

How do remote meetings work?

As far as possible, committee meetings will run according to the existing constitutional rules but with adjustments to allow the meetings to run as effectively as possible. 

Agendas

Agendas will be published as normal but unfortunately, we cannot provide hard copies of agendas at the moment. Agendas will all be published online via our democracy pages.

During the meeting

At the start of the meeting, the Chair will ask all councillors to confirm their attendance so you can hear, and usually see, at the start which councillors have joined the remote meeting.

During the rest of the meeting, when they are speaking, you will be able to see councillors and officers on screen, so long as the technology permits. At other times, you may not see them on screen because only a limited number of videos can be shown at once. Councillors will still be listening though.

Sometimes, a participant may not have a video feed due to technological issues. While it is preferable that councillors can see everyone else and be seen, it is more important that they can hear and be heard by everybody. 

If there is a connection issue, such as a councillor losing their audio connection or the public video feed stopping, then the Chair will usually adjourn the meeting to try and get the connection fixed. The exact circumstances will dictate how exactly such issues are managed.

Voting

In terms of voting, where the Chair of the meeting believes there to be a consensus between members of the committee on a decision they will ask them to verbally agree it. This will generally only be for minor, non-controversial items of business.

At other times, there will be a roll-call of Members who will be asked to cast their votes one by one and also confirm they have been able to hear the meeting satisfactorily.